Ad Watchdog Asks Comcast To Stop Bragging That Xfinity Is “Fastest In The Nation”

Despite an FCC study showing Verizon FiOS with the fastest download speeds, Comcast’s ads for its Xfinity internet service proudly claim that it’s the “fastest in the nation.” Now the Better Business Bureau’s ad watchdog has recommended that the Kabletown folks stop being so boastful.

The BBB’s National Advertising Division said it would be more accurate for Comcast to label Xfinity as “one of the fastest” or “the fastest internet option for most consumers in its service areas where competitor Verizon FiOS service is not available.”

The big problem here for the NAD is the very survey that Comcast uses to back up its claim.

In its ads, Comcast cites this August 2011 PC Magazine survey that did have Comcast with the fastest overall download speed — but with one huge asterisk.

See, the PC Mag survey does not differentiate between Verizon’s FiOS customers and its DSL customers. Instead, it presented an average of all Verizon ISP customers.

“It’s clear that FiOS’s speed floats Verizon above the rest,” the magazine wrote at the time.

Additionally, the download speeds for PC Mag’s other top performers, Cox (18.51 Mbps) and Charter (18.34 Mbps) were virtually indistinguishable from Comcast’s 18.64 Mbps. And Cox actually had a higher up speed (4.8 Mbps) than Comcast (3.94 Mbps).

After looking at the numbers, the NAD took issue with the following advertising claims made by Comcast:
• “XFINITY is the fastest Internet service provider in the nation according to PC Mag.”
• “It’s official. We’re the fastest.”
• “the fastest downloads available.”
• “FiOS Does Not Live up to Expectations….With Speeds of Up to 105 Mbps, XFINITY was rated as the fastest Internet provider in the nation by PC Magazine.”

From the NAD statement:

NAD has previously determined that Comcast cannot, based on its current offerings, make an unqualified claim in national advertising to be faster than the competition. NAD noted that while Comcast is the fastest Internet option for 94 percent of the 52 million households in its competitive footprint, it is not the fastest where FiOS is available.

In a statement to NAD, Comcast said it will “take NAD’s recommendations into account in formulating its future advertising.”

Which, according to our completely fictional Kabletown-to-English dictionary, seems to translate into something about being glad that the Better Business Bureau has no real authority over advertising.

[via Boston.com]